South Dakota House passes bill on arming teachers

2013-01-29T16:43:00Z 2013-11-18T16:54:23Z South Dakota House passes bill on arming teachersThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 29, 2013 4:43 pm  • 

PIERRE | The South Dakota House has approved a bill that would allow school districts to arm teachers and other personnel with guns to protect against attacks.

Representatives voted 42-17 Tuesday to send the measure to the Senate.

Supporters say school boards need the option of arming teachers, administrators or volunteers to protect against attacks like last month's school shooting in Connecticut.

The bill's main sponsor, Rep. Scott Craig of Rapid City, says the possibility that a school may have armed protectors could deter attacks.

But opponents say guns in schools would make those schools more dangerous. They say arming teachers could lead to accidental shootings.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. Report Abuse
    - January 31, 2013 6:41 am
    I've made four attempts to reply, and two more attempts to post, but all were stricken by the journal reviewer for reasons that elude me entirely. This is a fresh attempt on a different day to try to reply.
    I'm one of those people who have a concealed permit. I own weapons, and have had extensive training over the years from the NRA as well as the military, just to let you know a little background.
    There are some valid questions that have not been answered that can cause unintended consequences on this subject. Such as:
    * How will the weapons be stored?
    * Will they be carried openly, or concealed?
    * If carried openly, isn't there danger of a student surprising a teacher, taking the weapon and using it? This isn't hard to do, I've done it during training, (taking a weapon away).
    * Addition to the above point, I can find links to events where a trained policeman has had their weapon taken away and used against them. If this can happen to a trained professional, wouldn't a teacher be an easier target?
    *Who will be doing the training and how often and how rigorous will it be?
    * In the confusion surrounding a real event, there is danger of friendly fire from the cops. Will training be provided on how to help mitigate the risk of friendly fire should the teacher have his or her weapon out and the cops arrive in a confused situation?
    * Who vets the people who are to carry to make sure they should be allowed to carry? How detailed of a background check will take place?
    I don't think you can automatically assume a teacher or principal could equate to a law enforcement or military guard sort of individual in terms of dealing with unexpected dangerous situations. Another possibility comes to mind is what if a kid carries in an air-soft gun, (those look VERY real but are in fact relatively harmless), what if said teacher shoots a kid thinking it's real? How does the teacher live with that afterward? How would the parents and the community?
    I know that it would be stupid for a kid to bring such a thing in, (but we are talking about kids and kids do dumb things frequently). Imagine the lawsuits that would happen if a teacher or volunteer were to shoot a kid with a BB gun or airsoft gun that looked real.
    I just worry that unless this is carefully thought through, the problem or opportunity for problems might be made worse rather than better. All these are just questions. We'll see if I've watered down my reply enough now to allow it to be posted. If not, I'll give it up.
  2. Hairy Cannonball
    Report Abuse
    Hairy Cannonball - January 30, 2013 9:03 pm
    "What if a teacher sadly has a nerves break down and freaks out with his or her own gun?"

    What if a police officer has a nervous breakdown and freaks out with his duty weapon..
    What if a school bus driver has a nervous breakdown and freaks out and crashes the bus.
    What if a doctor has a nervous breakdown and...
    What if a worker at a refinery has a nervous breakdown and...
    Or is it only teachers that you worry about. Do we need to give teachers background checks? We require this for many other professional occupations. Are you implying that teachers are less stable than the rest of the population? I think you would find strong arguments to the contrary.
  3. James D
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    James D - January 30, 2013 5:40 pm
    Lots of hysteria and mindless panic here. Lets re-evaluate the issue. Currently there are signs posted at South Dakota schools declaring that area a gun free zone. Might as well say "no here will resist any form of aggression so psychos come on in". No one is forcing guns into liberal teacher hands and sending them to the junior high front lines. This simple fact is that my wife who has her concealed carry permit and is fully competent in the use of deadly force is forced to disarm herself when she passes that same sign that welcomes all aggressive psychos. You may have issues against carrying a firearm for self defense but I get angry when in your mindless hysteria you take away the one tool that makes my wife the equal to any man out there. This is a great step forward and I am proud of our state for leading the way!
  4. wildlife76
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    wildlife76 - January 30, 2013 3:19 pm
    There is a big difference between a trained Law enforcement officer or armed guards and having "Mrs. Johnson" packing in the classroom. People don't worry about friendly fire when they see armed guards or policeman, because people are under the expectation that they are proficient in handling their weapons. These officers have been trained for such instances. Teachers I know want to be teachers, not police officers. When our kids are assigned teachers, are we going to worry about their teaching record or how tight of a group did they shoot at the range? I know, instead of arming the teachers, why not hire armed security officers?
  5. KJohnson
    Report Abuse
    KJohnson - January 30, 2013 1:22 pm
    No, you don't feel safe having a gun in your home because you were obviously never taught how to properly handle one. First of all, there are these fancy things called gun safes. I'm sorry your child will never be able to have a normal life with such an overprotective mother. I'm a 22 year old female and have been operating guns since I was 5 or 6 and I am comfortable with the idea that someday, I may need to use a weapon to defend myself because I know how to properly handle ALL of my guns and I plan on teaching my children that guns are great when handled and operated properly. Just wait until the day that someone breaks into your home and they're armed with a gun, but all you've got is a bat or whatever you anti gun people use...Guess what? He lives and you both die. I've got my concealed carry permit, and I carry every single day because YOU NEVER KNOW when someone might open fire wherever you are. How do you expect kids to get to this "panic room" if there's a gunman or 3 in the school? Your child sets foot outside that door and they're as good as dead. I do partially agree with the fact that a teacher could flip out and pull their gun on the class, but that could easily be prevented by doing an extensive background check on all staff members. Maybe not every single staff member needs to carry a gun, but arming some won't harm anyone as long as they're properly trained.
  6. LovePuppet
    Report Abuse
    LovePuppet - January 30, 2013 10:24 am
    So are these teachers going to wear the guns on them at all times during school hours? Are they going to be locked up, so that when they are in need they know where to get them? I dont feel safe having a gun in my own home because i have a 10 year old daughter. How am i suppose to feel safe with teachers having them in the schools?

    If the teachers carry them full time during the day, what happens if there is a teacher that gets jumped and the kids take the gun? Then what? Or if they have them locked up in the building, the kids can still break it open to get to them... MOST OF ALL, how are we going to keep a child from bring one into the school??? Thats the real point! I think the schools need to make some kind of panic room for all kids and staff... Scanners at doors, every child should have to wear a badge and have it scanned before entering... What if a teacher sadly has a nerves break down and freaks out with his or her own gun? I dont think anyone is thinking clearly about the pros and cons of this... I am about to home school my child, where i know she is safe! PS, we cant stop bulling in our school but you honestly think wearing guns will stop shootings?! Seriously!
  7. jaambor
    Report Abuse
    jaambor - January 30, 2013 9:19 am
    How on earth can a bill arming teachers pass the State House of Representatives, and yet we can’t get a bill outlawing texting while driving????? South Dakotans are actually killed from texting while driving. This is a “hot button” political issue not a practical one. South Dakota State Senators…. please do the right thing, not the politically correct thing. I’ll still vote for you even if you don’t “protect my kids”.
  8. rareay
    Report Abuse
    rareay - January 30, 2013 9:14 am
    Indeed. Six million conceal-carry permits in the U.S. Maybe between 50-100,000 of them in South Dakota, not counting the out-of-state citizens visiting with valid permits recognized by SD. Danno walks around totally unaware that he's surrounded by good people legally carrying when he's out in public. And yet somehow he's made it through life to this point without ever experiencing one of these "unintended consequences" he's worried about happening in schools. You want a safe demographic? One concerned about safety of our kids? Teachers would seem to fit the bill already.
  9. ttpilot
    Report Abuse
    ttpilot - January 30, 2013 8:58 am
    Did anybody think to ask the teachers and administrators whether they want to pack a firearm? I expect about 99% of them wouldn't be in favor of the idea
  10. Hairy Cannonball
    Report Abuse
    Hairy Cannonball - January 30, 2013 7:22 am
    We heard all these same arguments when the federal flight deck officer program was created to arm pilots on our airlines. Since then there has been one accidental discharge. It was aboard US Airways flight 1536. No-one was injured, and the aircraft didn't suddenly fall out of the sky like some predicted. Honest question, do you worry about friendly fire when you go to the bank where your money is protected by armed guards?. Do you worry about friendly fire every time you see a police officer? Do you worry about friendly fire whenever you go to the airport where there are armed TSA? Do you worry about friendly fire whenever you go out in public in South Dakota, because there are plenty of concealed carry guns all around you.
  11. Luvtheblackhills
    Report Abuse
    Luvtheblackhills - January 30, 2013 5:30 am
    I see no problem with this as long as Teachers and employees are well trained. Anyone with intentions to kill ie Connecticut will think twice.
  12. Adam
    Report Abuse
    Adam - January 30, 2013 1:00 am
    Ignorance is bliss in the state legislature. But the people of South Dakota continue to vote in the party of stupid.
  13. Report Abuse
    - January 29, 2013 5:00 pm
    I wonder....

    How long it will be before we receive reports of "friendly-fire" incidents?

    I understand good intentions, but I don't think we'll see good come of this, (unintended consequences will surface I'm sure).....
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